Staff Well-Being Makes Good Management Sense

A blog by Maureen Cooper, author of ‘The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress’  Isn’t it tempting to think as a manager that we need to drive our staff along at a brisk pace, keeping up the pressure in order to get the best out of them? However, here are some recent figures on stress at work that make us think again: About half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill Up to 5 million people in the UK feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed by their work 2003/4 12.8...

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The companionship of long-distance runners: kindness in unexpected places

Recently I was walking along the beach near where I live in Edinburgh when several unexpected things happened. It was a unique summer day for Scotland: the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! It also happened to be the day of the Edinburgh marathon, and the promenade was packed with people waiting to cheer the runners on. I arrived just as the first runners appeared, and immediately spectators began applauding the athletes and shouting out words of encouragement. Some people in the watching crowd were obviously waiting for...

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The Power of Gratitude

In this short, readable book the author John Kralik tells the story of how he turned his life around by focusing his attention on what he had of value in his life rather than on what was missing. In Kralik’s case that was no hypothetical shift—a middle-aged, overweight divorcé, estranged from his older children, on the point of loosing his current girlfriend and possibly his business too, he felt things had come to such a point that he needed to make major changes in his life. Inspired by a thank-you note that he received himself he decided...

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Being and getting the job done

So how do we bring awareness into action and learn to ‘be’ at work—while still getting the job done? One of the biggest misunderstandings in our line of work is when people think that practicing techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can only happen in one’s personal time and if anyone tries it out at work they’ll either get laughed at, or fired for time-wasting! Nothing could be further from the truth. These techniques can be integrated into a working day without taking out time from essential tasks and will actually add to our focus,...

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Book Review (Part 2) – The Emotional Life of Your Brain

(This is Part II for Part I please click here, book available from Amazon here) The core of Davidson’s book crystallises research as to how we uniquely react and respond to ‘life’s slings and arrows’.  Individual response is unique mix across six dimensions — Resilience, Outlook, Social Intuition, Self Awareness, Sensitivity to Context, and Attention.  We have a mix of these styles which means we could easily bounce back from a setback (resilience domain) but not very good at reading the body language of others (social intuition domain)....

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Book Review (Part 1) – The Emotional Life of Your Brain

(This is Part I for Part II please click here) Some texts are perfect for particular needs of our time.  For me The Emotional Life of Your Brain is one such book. It’s written by a pioneer in neuroscience Professor Richard Davidson and an award winning health & science correspondent Sharon Begley – who has a deft skill at making such books light on the eye and easy to digest. I must admit to Davidson being a bit of a hero of mine, both because of this pioneering work (in 2006, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the...

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